Comparative Biosciences

Comparative Biosciences is creating the future of science and medicine, extending new knowledge into real-life applications to improve the health of animals and people.

Department of Comparative Biosciences

3516 Veterinary Medicine Basic Sciences Bldg.
2001 South Lincoln Avenue
Urbana, IL 61802

P: 217-333-2506

Uwe Rudolph
Dr med
Professor and Head

For information, contact

Welcome! Our department is a place where students and researchers pursue advances in comparative medicine, from basic science discovery through regulatory approval and successful application to human and animal health. We invite you to learn more about our work.

 Mission | Areas of Focus | Faculty | Key Collaborations | News



  • Instruct veterinary and graduate students in the pre-clinical sciences of gross anatomy, histology, developmental anatomy, neurobiology, physiology, pharmacology and toxicology
  • Conduct original, cutting-edge research on critical problems of animal, human, and environmental health
  • Sustain a university-leading program in comparative biomedical training and research
  • Participate in leadership and governance of professional and scientific societies as well as of the department, college, and university


Areas of Focus

The majority of our faculty work within several interconnected fields of interest. We bring a broad range of techniques and approaches to bear on these core areas: from micro-RNA to animal and human patient epidemiology, and from cellular biology to applied clinical pharmacology and animal behavior. Experimental models used in the department vary from stem cells to rodent, frog, and zebrafish models to domestic animals, wildlife, and large prospective trials involving human patients.


  • Current projects: Impact of environmental and dietary compounds on neurodevelopment, sexual differentiation of brain and behaviors; neurochemistry of cannabinoids, neuroimmunology, neurophysiology of motivated behavior and cognition, Brain mechanisms underlying complex behaviors. Function of brain circuits, Role of neurotransmitters and neurotransmitter receptors in health and disease
  • Faculty: Andrea Aguilar, Paul Bonthuis, Aditi Das, Howard Gritton, Makoto Inoue, Megan Mahoney, Uwe Rudolph

Environmental Health and Toxicology

Pharmacology, Experimental Therapeutics and Cancer Biology

  • Current projects: Mechanisms of response and resistance to novel cancer therapeutics, cancer epigenetics, phospholipid remodeling and cholesterol metabolism in cancer, mitotic/meiotic checkpoints and DNA repair, hormones and nuclear receptors in cancer, the microbiome and cancer, tumor immunology, pharmacology and experimental therapeutics of endocannabinoids, Pharmacological functions of neurotransmitter receptor subtypes, Cell-type and brain circuit-specific neuropharmacology, Pharmacology of postoperative cognitive dysfunction
  • Faculty: Indrani Bagchi, Aditi Das, Sarah Freemantle, Makoto Inoue, Wenyan Mei, Huanyu (Joe) Qiao, Michael Spinella, Uwe Rudolph

Developmental and Stem Cell Research

  • Current projects: Vertebrate germline development and signal transduction during early embryonic patterning, gonadal development focusing on the roles that estrogen plays in ovarian follicle formation, host-microbe interactions in intestinal development and tissue homeostasis, metabolic regulation of tissue stem cell homeostasis.
  • Faculty: CheMyong (Jay) Ko, Wenyan Mei, Bo Wang, Jing Yang

Reproductive Biology

  • Current projects: Development and function of the reproductive system, focusing on the germ cells, gonads (ovary and testis), uterus, and hypothalamic-pituitary axis. Special emphases are given to molecular mechanisms of meiosis, spermatogenesis, folliculogenesis, ovulation, implantation, sex determination and sexual behaviors
  • Faculty: Indrani Bagchi, Jodi Flaws, Rex Hess, CheMyong (Jay) Ko, Quanxi Li, Megan Mahoney, Wenyan Mei, Huanyu (Joe) Qiao, Prabhakara Reddi, Jing Yang, Ayelet Ziv-Gal

Gastrointestinal Physiology, Metabolism, and Diseases

  • Current projects: Regulation of host-gut microbe interactions and their impact on host health, metabolic regulation of tissue stem cell homeostasis, regulation of lipid metabolism, pathophysiology of metabolic diseases
  • Faculty: Wenyan Mei, Bo Wang



See the faculty page for a list of Comparative Biosciences faculty members and links to their biosketches.

Department Administration

Uwe Rudolph, Head

Jodi Flaws, Assistant Head

Megan Mahoney, Director of Graduate Studies

Key Collaborations and Affiliations



News Comparative Biosciences News

[Zeeshan Fazal]

Postdoc Part of Study on Little Satellite with Big Benefits

Feb 15, 2019 / Comparative Biosciences News

Antibiotic Resistance in Space Dr. Zeeshan Fazal, a postdoctoral research associate currently working in the laboratory of Dr. Michael Spinella, comparative biosciences, received a commendation for work he participated in while at Stanford University. The Group Achievement Award was presented to the E. coli AntiMicrobial Satellite (EcAMSat) mission team. Their project, which took place on...

[Dr. Jodi Flaws and graduate student Katie Chiang]

Phthalate May Impair Fertility in Female Mice

Feb 7, 2019 / Comparative Biosciences News

Many Rodent Studies Link Phthalates to Health Problems A phthalate found in many plastic and personal care products may decrease fertility in female mice, a new study found. Researchers at the University of Illinois found that giving female mice oral doses of the phthalate DiNP for 10 days disrupted their reproductive cycles, decreasing their ability...

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